SAN DIEGO – Carlos Correa homered with one out in the ninth inning and the Houston Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Thursday behind sensational pitching from five rookies to remain alive in the AL Championship Series.
Correa drove a pitch from Nick Anderson to straightaway center field, watched the ball for a few steps and then flung his bat. He was greeted at home by his ecstatic teammates. He’s only 3 for 18 in the series, but two of the hits are homers.
Houston won a second straight elimination game thanks in large part to starter Luis Garcia and four fellow rookies, who combined to hold the Rays to two runs and four hits through 6 2/3 innings before manager Dusty Baker finally turned to a veteran, Josh James. Ryan Pressly, the seventh Astros pitcher, got the victory.
The Astros pulled to 3-2 and forced Game 6 on Friday. In the ALCS for a fourth straight year, the Astros are trying to join the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only teams to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. The Red Sox beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS and went on to win their first World Series in 86 seasons.
Otherwise, big league clubs leading 3-0 in a best-of-seven postseason series are 37-1.
The Astros, who got into the playoffs with a losing record, are trying to reach the World Series for the third time in four years. They are trying to get there in a year when they have been criticized for their role in a cheating scandal en route to the 2017 title that was uncovered last offseason.
Correa also hit a walkoff homer in Game 2 of the 2017 ALCS off Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees.